Last year, in July of 2007, I attended the Agora Financial investment Symposium in Vancouver, BC. There were a lot of excellent speakers and sessions covering all aspects of investment, with quite a bit of emphasis on natural resources and a strong international flavor. One of the speakers who impressed me the most was Paul van Edeen. On my return home I subscribed to his newsletter – which has since become one of my favorites.
I recently came across a presentation made on May 20th to the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs by Dr. Benn Steil, a Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, entitled "Financial Speculation in Commodity Markets" (pdf). Dr. Steil also gave a speech the week before at the New York Hard Assets Investment Conference entitled "Is the Dollar Doomed?" (text and audio).
You might have noticed that my previous post on Silver and Stocks didn't once mention the US Dollar. Why? Because it's irrelevant. It may go up, it may go down. Most likely down, but so what? I try not to hold any more of it than necessary, unless I have reason to believe it's in an extended uptrend and decide to speculate.
Another story that caught my fancy, restated in terms of gold for your entertainment. Enjoy!
From a March 11, 2008 story in the Financial Times:
As stated in dollars:
Wall St enjoys best one-day rise since 2002
By Chris Bryant in New York
Published: March 11 2008 13:01 | Last updated: March 11 2008 20:41
Here are excerpts from three news stories from 7-Mar-2008 Marketwatch.com, as they were written, and as I would read them. In each case, I have simply taken the USD figures given in the story and converted them to gold grams, then reworded the story to fit the new numbers. In some cases, I've added YTD data to put the reported figures in a larger perspective.
With the US Dollar making new lows, and the stock market in disarray, 2008 is off to a shaky start. The Fed is faced with few options, none of them very pretty. If they cut rates to try to soften the recession and prop up asset prices, they further lower the value of the currency those assets are priced in, hurting their true value. But the political consequences of doing the right thing – letting a recession wring the weakness out of the economy – are just too painful to seriously contemplate, especially in a presidential election year.
In their race to see who can become worthless first, the US dollar has overtaken the Canadian dollar!
During today's trading, the USD hit 42.20 milligrams of gold, while the CAD traded for 42.41 mg. Can the USD maintain it's lead or will the CAD be able to recover it's advantage?
The Charts section has been updated with a new chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, this one from 1900 to present. The three big bull markets of this 107 year period, and the following bear markets, are easily seen. It is clear that a lot of money can be made – and lost – investing in stocks over the long run.
From 1904 to 1929 the Dow grew 12 times in value from 47 to 568 gold grams, then gave up 89% of that gain, ending at 64 grams in 1933. In the next phase, the Dow grew almost 14 times, to 893 grams in 1966. This was followed by a long decline, losing almost 96% of it's value, finally bottoming around 37 grams in 1980. Then the next bull market emerged, growing over 37 times to 1,393 gold grams in 1999. The 8 years following this all time peak have been a downward march, representing a loss of almost 56% to the August 31, 2007 close of 618.262 gold grams.
What will the future hold? I would love to hear comments from technicians on this topic… But if the last two market cycles are any guide, I suspect we will see the Dow trading below 200 gold grams sometime in the next 5 to 10 years, and it may not be until around 2035 that a new high is made.
There are many roads that could lead to the 200 gram level; the Dow could move sideways as the value of the dollar shrinks, or the Dow could keep making "new highs" in terms of a plummeting dollar, or the dollar could stabilize or even strengthen while the Dow collapses in nominal terms.
But if your goal is to build your real wealth, the key is to keep your eye on the ball: investing in assets that are growing in gold value, regardless of their price as viewed in the fun-house mirrors of fiat currencies. The Custom Chart service can help you identify those opportunities, and we will be bringing more tools online in the future as well.
Just a quick note — I still haven't found a good source for gasoline prices before April of 1993 (if you can give me a URL for this data, I would very much appreciate it!) but I did find the peak price for gasoline in California in March of 1981, the price point quoted in the news articles as being the highest "inflation adjusted" price (until now) for US gasoline.
The big news this week is that the Dow Jones Indistrial Average has broken the 13,000 barrier, establishing a new all-time high. What does this all mean? Has the Dow been a good place to invest money? Listen to the first Priced in Gold Podcast to hear my comments on investing, the DJIA, and pricing in gold.